Come and follow me….safely
I spend a lot of my driving day driving alone. I don’t mind. It’s a little more peaceful that way. My wife, on the other hand, spends most of her time driving with our 4 young kids. That puts a lot of responsibility on her.
I often see drivers who drive in such a way as to put their passengers at risk. What I’m getting at are drivers who follow other drivers too closely. Think about it. The real problem here is that you’re in a position to rear-end another driver. I’ve heard drivers say they brake when they see brake lights. That’s certainly a good idea, but we need to think of a lot more before that happens.
What drivers don’t realize is that it takes more than a couple of car lengths to stop safely in an emergency. The average driver takes 3/4 of a second before they realize the brake lights are on the vehicle in front of them. They take another 3/4 of a second to move their foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal. This adds up to 1 1/2 seconds. What about the actual braking distance? Having an additional 1/2 second will help you stop your vehicle.
The minimum safe following distance recommended for city driving is 2 seconds. Since higher speeds are involved, use 3 seconds on the highway or freeway. Increase the space in front when you’re being tailgated. This will allow you to brake more gradually if the driver in front stops suddenly. This could also help the driver behind you stop easier.
There are a few factors involved here though. Having your vehicle weighted down will not allow you to stop as quickly. Tires also play a factor. Good tires allow you to get better traction, which allows you to stop quicker. Don’t forget you need more time to stop in poor weather too! You may have good reflexes, but your brake pads are also wet, which reduces the friction needed to stop as quick in dry weather.
What annoys me the most is that the driver behind has increased the risk of the driver in front of them. If they rear-end that driver because of following too closely, they could seriously injure the occupants of the lead vehicle. That’s not fair now, is it? Isn’t that an act of aggression on their part? A reality check is required here. Reaction time is more than a having a couple of car lengths between you and the driver in front.
Instead of relying only on the brake lights of the driver ahead of you, look ahead and anticipate when that driver may have to stop. If you start braking before they do, you can make a safer stop and avoid rear-ending them. It’s our responsibility to drive safely and help other motorists arrive safely, so please avoid tailgating. I’d like my family to arrive safely home as well!